Lisa Goldman won three Grand Prix classes during her first appearance at the Ocala Winter Circuit last year, and hasn't skipped a beat since. She returned with a bang this week, winning the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, to kick off Grand Prix competition at this year's circuit.
Riding for her family-owned Red Coat Farm in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois, Goldman piloted Centurion B to the win. Last year, Goldman and the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding had a break-out season at HITS Ocala, which carried them to HITS-on-the-Hudson where they competed in the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix. "It was a lot of pressure – that was the biggest track I have ever jumped – and I survived," joked Goldman about her million-dollar debut. "The Million was probably the biggest thrill since my first grand prix as an 11-year-old."
Goldman and her trusted mount topped a field of 33 competitors over a course designed by Doug Russell of Ocala, Florida this week. "I haven't seen a lot of big tracks since October, so everything seemed huge to me," said Goldman. "My horses were outstanding – I thought they would be tired with a triple combination at the end of the course, but they held up beautifully." Russell set a course with 13 obstacles and 16 jumping efforts, including a double combination at the eighth fence and triple at the second-to-last fence.
Evident not only by their wins together, but also by their relationship, Goldman admits that Centurion B is special. "We have owned him since he was about two, and I jumped his first cross rail with him," said Goldman of the horse her mother purchased from Bannockburn Farm in Indiana a decade ago.
Goldman and Centurion B were first in the order and set an early time of 83.30 seconds, well under a time allowed of 85 seconds. Eleven trips later, she did it again, this time aboard her own Zacantos Z, hinting at a one-woman jump-off. Goldman purchased Zacantos Z during the 2013 winter circuit from Tammy McConnell and the big, gray gelding is one of 19 horses representing Red Coast Farm at HITS Ocala this year. "We are really starting to click, said Goldman of the horse who stands about 17.2 hands tall. "We have won some top ribbons together, but this winter should be really exciting."
Scott Keach was quick to respond to Goldman's two clean trips with a clear round in the next go aboard Southern Cross Equestrian, LLC's Coco. Jenna Friedman of Alpharetta, Georgia was clear next on her own Zidoctro to set the stage for a four-horse jump-off.
Returning first again, Goldman and Centurion B posted the only double-clear effort of the day with an early Great American Time to Beat at 41.805 seconds. Keach and Friedman both picked up four faults apiece at the fourth fence of the jump-off, settling them in second and third, respectively. Goldman finished fourth with Zacantos Z with eight faults, while Jordan Coyne of New Port Richey, Florida piloted her own Lazaro to cap the top five with the fastest four-fault ride of the first round.
With a nod to the class sponsor, Goldman admits that her 85-horse farm in Illinois is fueled by SmartPak. "After winning a lot of product during last year's winter circuit, we started using it on our horses and couldn't be happier with the results," she said.
Grand Prix competition continues at HITS Ocala this Sunday with the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, as excitement already begins to build for the first-ever Great American $1 Million Grand Prix. The Great American Million will debut as the second jewel in the HITS Triple Crown of Show Jumping Monday, March 24 in the new Ocala Horse Properties Stadium.
Source: Press release from HITS Media Team
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